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Gilchrist approves 9.3 mills for 2021-2022 Ad Valorem property tax levy

The Gilchrist County Commission adopted Resolution 2021-16, a resolution adopting the tentative levying of ad Valorem property taxes for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The Commission had proposed a 9.4 mill rate during the budget workshop, but decided to reduce the rate to 9.3 mills. The gross taxable value for Gilchrist County for the 2021-2022 operating year is $937,602.093. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a motion to approve Resolution 2021-16 during a Public Hearing held on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a second in support of the motion before the Commission approved the action by a unanimous vote.
The Commission considered Resolution 2021-17, a resolution adopting the tentative budget for 2021-2022 fiscal year set forth the appropriations and revenues estimated for the up coming year in the amount of $51,504,292. A motion was made by Commissioner Darrell Smith to approve Resolution 2021-17. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a second to the motion before the board cast a 5-0 roll call vote in favor of the motion.
The Commission considered Resolution 2021-18, a resolution adopting the tentative levying of ad Valorem taxes for Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU), for Emergency Medical Services for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The gross taxable value for operating for Gilchrist County has been certified as $946,042,940. The operating millage rate for the 2021-2022 fiscal year for MSTU is 1.0624 mills. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-18. A second was made by Commissioner Marion Poitevint as the Commission approved the motion, 5-0 in a roll call vote.
The Commission considered Resolution 2021-19, a resolution adopting the tentative budget for Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) for Emergency Medical Service for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-19 as Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the proposed motion. Madam Chair Langford asked for a roll call vote as the Commission approved the motion by a 5-0 vote.
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The Commission chair, Sharon Langford opened the meeting to Public Participation. At this time, the Commission allows persons that are not on the agenda, to address the board to speak of concerns that they might have involving issues relating to Gilchrist County.
Madam Chair recognized Jimmy Montgomery as a Gilchrist County property owner when he presented a petition representing property owners along SE 97th Trail asking the Commission to pave this lime rock road.
Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County Administrator explained that Gilchrist County has a Special Assessment program that is used to pave public roads in the county. He explained that the property owners along the road can petition Gilchrist County to pave the road, and if 70% of the property owners are in support of the program to pave the road, then Gilchrist County will go forward to determine the cost of the paving. The property owners will then be assessed a fee to cover the cost of the paving and it will be assessed over a 20 year period on the property owner’s ad Valorem taxes.
“Why do we pay to have a county road paved?” asked Jimmy Montgomery.
The Chairperson, Mrs. Langford explained that Gilchrist County cannot afford to pave all of the lime rock roads in the rural areas of the county. She explained that if a road is submitted to the Gilchrist County Road Committee, that road could be submitted to the FDOT to be considered for paving through the Florida Department of Transportation SCRAP and SCOP programs.
Michael Eger, a property owner on SE 13th Court asked the Commission for a sign identifying the roads at SE 13th Court and SE 97th Trail. He reported that these roads are rough and not maintained. He explained that these roads are so narrow, if an approaching vehicle tries to pass on this road, one of the vehicles has to pull off of the graded road to allow the other vehicle to pass. He explained that he didn’t mind paying for the road to be improved; he felt that something needs to be done about these road problems.
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The Commission held a Public Hearing at 4:15 p.m. to consider an application by Countryside Baptist Church, SP 2021-07 to add two portable classroom buildings to the 8-acre property of Riverside Christian Academy at 8149 SW County Road 341, Trenton in southwest Gilchrist County.
Gilchrist County Attorney David M. Lang, Jr. presented the application to the Commission. He gave a staff report and explained, the application meets the zoned guidelines set fourth in the A-1 Land Use category. Mr. Lang reported that staff report recommends approval of SP 2021-07.
Pastor Bill Keith addressed the Commission to answer any questions that the Commission might have regarding this application.
Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve SP 2021-07 as Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion. Madam Chair Langford called for a vote as the Commission approved the application by a 5-0 vote.
Pastor Keith thanked the Commission for considering the application and appreciated Gilchrist County for approving the site plan to allow the Christian school to expand their facilities at Riverside Christian School.
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Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby reported to the Commission that Gilchrist County had received three written bids to furnish supplies to upgrade, 50/30/and 20-amp electrical panel boxes for camper hookups at Hart Springs Park. The bid involves 63 camper hook-ups for the camping area at Hart Springs Park.
The bids received are from: City Electric Supply - $8,942.85, Zorro - $10,539.90, and Lowes - $11,844.00.
Mr. Crosby recommended City Electric Supply at $8,942.85, which is the low bid. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a motion to approve the recommendation to purchase the electrical supplies from the low bidder. Commissioner Marion Poitevint made a second to the motion as the board approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
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Mr. Crosby presented draft information for the Commission to consider closing boat ramps on the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers when the rivers are flooded. This information is as follows:
All boat ramps owned and operated by Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, located in Gilchrist County shall be closed according to and in accordance with Florida Statute 327-463 and administrative code 68D-24.020.
All boat ramps on the Suwannee River shall close when the most Northern boat ramp reaches the required idle speed, no wake zone and reopen when the most Southern boat ramp recedes to normal operations.
All boat ramps on the Santa Fe River shall close when the most Eastern boat ramp reaches the required idle speed, no wake zone and reopen when the most Western boat ramp recedes to normal operations.
The Santa Fe Park Boat Ramp located on SR 47 during the boat ramp closures, will be closed to all motorized watercrafts. However, the ramp may be used only for non-motorized watercrafts during the closures.
The Commission discussed the draft articles in length, as some wanted to close public ramps and disallow private boat ramps to be used by the public to access the rivers.
Gilchrist County resident Eddy Scott asked the Commission to not close all of the public boat ramps on the Santa Fe River, some residents would still like to access the river to run fish lines during the high water. Attorney Lang explained to the Commission that private boat ramps on the river are not restricted by this draft.
Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve the information submitted by the County Administrator for the boat ramp closures on the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave the motion a second as the Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote.